Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/5/07
Imagine that. The Bush administration couldn't even get Iraq to back the [Cuba] embargo.
So why did the vast majority of nations — including all but one of this country's closest allies — support a call for ending the embargo? Because it's a bad idea that has only gotten worse with age. What started out as a prohibition against Americans traveling to Cuba and a ban on U.S. companies doing business there has morphed into something even more troubling.
In 1996, Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, which imposes a steep fine on Americans who travel to Cuba without permission and allows the U.S. to levy sanctions against foreign firms doing business there. That's right; we've made it illegal for companies in other countries to do business in Cuba. While this law has proven difficult to enforce, it has outraged most of the world's governments.
The embargo prevents American farmers from selling most of their products to Cuba's 11 million people.
The point here is that Bush has little support for his Cuba policy among Democrats or members of his own party — or the world in general.
Instead of trying to get others to embrace his failed Cuba policy, Bush should forge a new one. He should end the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba and allow American firms to do business there.